TAMPA -- Pittsburgh Penguins video coach Andy Saucier played a key role in their 5-2 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final at Amalie Arena on Tuesday.
After it appeared that the Lightning took a 1-0 lead on Jonathan Drouin's goal, Saucier saw that Drouin may have been offside and alerted assistant coach Rick Tocchet. The Penguins challenged the play and the goal was overturned when review showed that Drouin's skate was slightly off the ice as defenseman Victor Hedman brought the puck across the blue line.
"I think it was a huge moment in the game," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "Our video guy saw it and it was close, but he felt as though it was offside, and it was close enough that we certainly wanted to challenge it. It was a great call by him. It was certainly, I think, a big part of the game. If they get the first goal, it lights up the building, and all of a sudden, momentum gets difficult. So I thought it was a great call by [Saucier], and certainly, I think, our team actually got a boost from it because we knew we had dodged a bullet there."
The Lightning appeared to go flat after the successful challenge and had four shots on goal in the first period.
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"Stuff happens," Drouin said. "If it's offside, it's offside. It definitely [stinks], but that's the way it goes, but I don't think we were that discouraged or anything. We kept going, our next shift was good too."
Drouin said he didn't know if he was offside and would look at the play later.
The Penguins built a 3-0 lead heading into the third period before the Lightning rallied to make it 3-2 with 7:17 left. Pittsburgh scored twice in the final 2:09 and tied the best-of-7 series 3-3. Game 7 is at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh on Thursday (8 p.m., TV: NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).
It is the second time during the Stanley Cup Playoffs that Drouin has been ruled offside after the Lightning scoredl. In Game 1 of the first round against the Detroit Red Wings, Drouin appeared to have the primary assist on a Hedman goal in the third period but the review showed he was offside while carrying the puck in the zone.
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"Obviously, it would have been a nice lift if it went in, but I thought we kept the life on the bench," Lightning forward Ryan Callahan said. "I don't think we deflated at all, but, at the same time, our first 20 (minutes), our first 40 wasn't where it needed to be."
Penguins goalie Matt Murray, who was in net after Marc-Andre Fleury started Game 5, settled down after the successful challenge and did not face any significant scoring chances for much of the first two periods.
"It's always nice when a goal gets overturned, but it was, I'm sure, the right call that was made," Murray said. "So you kind of move past it once a decision is made."